Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations
Several years ago we published a white paper on the topic of
Avoiding The Common Pitfalls of CRM. In fact, we suggest that this
whitepaper is required reading to ensure success of your CRM program and
is a prerequisite to what is provided here.
Since a number of years have passed, we decided it was again time to
address this critical topic. We will build on what was previously shared
and provide additional insights resulting from our continued efforts
leading CRM implementations.
This topic will be covered in the following segments:
Service vs. Sales Implementations
Sales CRM Value Statements
Importance of Senior Executive Sponsorship
Proven Technology – Really?
Key (Controllable) Items Impacting Adoption
Proficiency After 2 days of Training?
Service vs. Sales
We have seen a wide chasm of differences between implementing CRM
solutions for Sales versus Service. In a nutshell, the service team is
typically very specific about requirements based upon well defined
business processes. And, the UAT (user acceptance test) phase is quite
challenging as you clearly demonstrate that requirements have been met and
the system is performing exactly as specified. The good news is, however,
once the service team is live on the system THEY ARE LIVE.
And, 100% adoption is achieved on day 1! That is, they must
use the system to perform their job. There is no alternative.
By contrast, sales organizations are "typically" less oriented towards
rigid process. A sales strategy or plan may be in place, but it is only in
effect for the current quarter or year. That is, things are fluid, as they
must be to enable the business to meet the ever-changing needs of the
market. This is challenge #1. The key to overcoming this is to be flexible
and prepared to adapt to change. To accommodate this, you will want to
build time in your plan. This is merely an exercise of good project/scope
management. Enough said on this…
The more critical challenge is dealing with the realities of CRM from the
perspective of the Sales Rep. This is a more complex exercise of
organizational change management.
Often, companies embark on their CRM initiative having been sold on the
benefits to the enterprise. However, when it comes down to it, if you do
not have buy-in from the Sales Reps and/or strong leadership to drive
adoption, you will not achieve the anticipated return on investment. And,
you will find that several months after implementation, you don't even
have 80% adoption of your Sales CRM solution. Senior management will ask
the key question: "Why are we doing this?"
Why is this so? Let's explore the realities of CRM from the Sales Rep's
perspective. To do so, we provide key comments heard from Sales Reps
(typically behind closed doors or on a one-on-one basis), though
occasionally a more vocal Sales Rep will share this feedback openly. The
typical comments are:
"Big brother can watch me. Management has insight into
what I am doing."
"The CRM system reduces my flexibility"
"I am forced to identify opportunities earlier"
"The headquarters office has insight into my
prospects. I'm essentially turning my contact list over to the
In response to providing the CRM application on a
handheld device (e.g., Palm Treo) the question is asked: "Does this have
GPS so that my whereabouts can be tracked?"
the above is not addressed "head on" Sales Management will experience
continued frustration with incompleteness and tardiness of submission of
information (forecasts, activities, etc.). And, there will be a never
ending list of "if you fix this we'll be able to use the system." In
summary - lack of adoption.
To address the above requires:
Clearly demonstrating value to the Sales
Strong Sales leadership (line management to executive)
to drive adoption
Recognizing that this is not only about the Sales Rep;
rather CRM is an enterprise solution that results in organizational
improvements in efficiencies and effectiveness
Clearly defining use parameters and expectations
(e.g., forecasts are only accepted if they are submitted via the CRM
Leveraging reporting to inspect and reward use, where
reps are rewarded based upon performance to the Sales Plan and
measurement can only occur via CRM, based upon entry of Sales Plan
Reinforcing the fact that the CRM solution (process
and system) is never done, but rather it will continuously improve based
upon feedback from the Sales team as well as changes in the business and
our next edition we will cover the topic of demonstrating the value of CRM
to your Sales team and the rest of the organization.
In closing, if you are embarking on a CRM initiative, or are in the middle
of a CRM program that doesn't seem to have the traction you'd like to see,
give us a call. We'd be happy to assist you in framing up your initial
project for success as well as provide objective insight on your existing
initiative to ensure that you achieve the anticipated ROI.
Finally, if you are looking for a CRM implementation primer, consider the
CRM Automation by Barton J. Goldenberg.
+ Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM
+ Recommended Reading
If you have received this newsletter from a friend
and would like to subscribe:
here to subscribe
View previous newsletters
our series on Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations,
we recommend CRM Magazine article
Out of the Database and Into Business Processes by Chris Holmes. Mr.
Holmes similarly stresses the importance of user adoption for a successful
CRM implementation, and offers some ideas about data visualization to help
users see more benefit to CRM use.
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
See What Our Customers Say